Jaguar Land Rover has become the latest car-making company to say it will stop launching new models solely powered by internal combustion engines. It promised that all new models from 2020 will be fully electric or hybrid. The announcement came shortly after Volvo pledged to do the same.
Chief Executive, JLR, Ralf Speth said, “Every new Jaguar Land Rover model line will be electrified from 2020, giving our customers even more choice.” He, however, also warned of the unintended consequences of the electrification of cars and arrival of autonomous vehicles. “In the UK, there are currently more than a quarter of a million lorry drivers. What happens to our society if these lose their jobs? Who pays for them? What happens to the social fabric of the country?” Over 250,000 lorry drivers in the UK are at risk from driverless technology with knock-on effects for the country's social fabric, Speth said.
He added that the impact of electric cars on petrol and diesel demand could hurt oil-producing nations. “Many could be forced to impose substantial spending cuts within the next five years, straining living standards and so creating unrest in areas already suffering from instability. The very technology that could liberate us, autonomous vehicles, could become a method of insecurity and enslavement... Big freedoms could end up creating the big brother state.”
Average CO2 emissions from JLR cars were 164g per km in 2015- more than the UK average of 121.4g. Also, they are way behind on the 95g target to be achieved by 2021. Automotive expert Prof David Bailey said Jaguar was slow to wake up to electric vehicles. “Jaguar are playing catchup- Tesla has stolen a chunk of their lunch, BMW are way ahead as well. The premium end of things is moving more quickly (towards electrification) in part because electric car costs are higher at the moment because of battery costs, so they can absorb that. It's also because they are heavily dependent on diesel and the market is moving away from diesel.”
JLR, a subsidiary of the Indian conglomerate Tata, makes no electric cars but plans to begin building production versions of its battery-powered SUV next year. The I-Pace will have a range of 310 miles (500km), putting it on a par with competition from US-based Tesla but ahead of cheaper options such as the new Nissan Leaf, unveiled recently. JLR has indicated that it would like to build an electric car plant in the UK, similar to Nissan’s Sunderland facility, where the Leaf is built, but it has yet to make a concrete commitment. The Leaf is the UK’s bestselling electric model, and this week Nissan revealed its new design and an extended, 235-mile range.
Such a move would be a significant boost to the British car industry and follows BMW, which in July pledged to build its electric Mini in Oxford. Jaguar sold more than 583,000 cars in 136 countries last year. Industry watchers had spotted earlier this year that JLR had trademarked a series of car names that suggested an electric future, although the company will continue to build existing petrol and diesel models beyond 2020.